Common Reading

Within the pages of the Common Reading book you will find ideas, inspiration and community with your fellow honors students.

The UA Honors College Common Reading Program is designed to bring together incoming students around a common experience: reading an engaging book that will help you think about important ideas that will come up repeatedly during your first year - and probably throughout your whole life. 

The 2019 selection is a book that we believe will resonate with the wide range of students in the Honors College. 

What the Eyes Don’t See is the inspiring story of how Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, alongside a team of researchers, parents, friends, and community leaders, discovered that the community of Flint, Michigan, was being exposed to lead in their tap water—and then battled her own government and a brutal backlash to expose that truth to the world. Paced like a scientific thriller, What the Eyes Don’t See reveals how misguided austerity policies, broken democracy, and callous bureaucratic indifference placed an entire city at risk. And at the center of the story is Dr. Mona herself—an immigrant, doctor, scientist, and mother whose family’s activist roots inspired her pursuit of justice. 

What the Eyes Don’t See is a riveting account of a shameful disaster that became a tale of hope, the story of a city on the ropes that came together to fight for justice, self-determination, and the right to build a better world for their—and all of our—children. 

The book will be used throughout the Catalyst course to encourage interdisciplinary approaches to solving problems. Additionally, complementary programming will be presented to address issues and themes from the book. During Family Weekend, the Honors College will host the New Student Induction Ceremony, at which the author, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha will provide the keynote presentation. Students will also have an opportunity to participate in an intimate dinner with the author. 

You will receive a copy of the book during summer Honors Orientation. By reading the book over the summer, you will be prepared to start the academic year ready to engage in discussions regarding the book and experiences presented by the author. From the 7-week Honors Catalyst course to the Honors New Student Convocation in October, you will have opportunities to think about what the book means and how it might affect the way you interact with others and see the world. 

More about the author

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha

TEDMED Talk

The Future for Flint’s Children

Is water in Flint safe to drink? It’s not just a question of chemistry.
 

Further Reading

The Poisoned City

Thirst
 

Film

Flint Town (Netflix 8-episode series)

The Honors College Common Reading Program is designed to bring together incoming students around a common experience: reading an engaging book that will help you think about important ideas that will come up repeatedly during your first year – and probably throughout your whole life.

If you choose to participate in the Common Reading Program, you will receive a copy of the book during summer Honors Orientation. By reading the book over the summer, you will be prepared to start the academic year ready to engage in discussions at the start of the semester.

 

Previous Common Reading selections have included:

2019 – What the Eyes Don’t See by Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha

2018 – On Trails by Robert Moor

2017 – Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

2016 – Citizen by Claudia Rankine

2015 – In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner

2014 – The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore

2013 – Planetwalker by Francis Walker

2012 – Tortilla Curtain by T.C. Boyle

2011 – The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

2010 – Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

2009 – White Gloves by John Kotre

2008 – Ishmael by Daniel Quinn

2007 – Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi